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Naxos Restaurants

Roast lamb and kountosouvli at Popi's GrillBecause Naxos is an agricultural island most of the restaurants feature locally grown vegetables, fruits and meats, and of course fish, though chances are better that your meat is local than your fish. Octopus and squid are imported as they are almost everywhere. The specialties of the island are their delicious cheeses and sausages which should be tasted everywhere because in each restaurant they are a little bit different. Local wines are good and the local ouzo is distilled and pure and one of the best in Greece. They also drink Kitron, an alcoholic drink made from the tree which is in the orange family. It is more for desert than dinner. There are plenty of restaurants in Naxos town and on all the beaches near Naxos town and it just a matter of finding what you like. I usually ask where the locals eat but restaurants like Elli and Oniro are recommended by one guidebook or another. If you ask the concierge or owner of your hotel where they eat you usually can't go wrong. Even if it happens to be owned by his cousin or brother it is probably good. The taverna on the roof of the Naxos Island Hotel has gotten great reviews from people in my Greece Travel Guides Group and other friends I have sent there. For a romantic dinner or a nice place to propose this is probably a safe bet.

Debbie Richards, owner of Picasso restaurantMy eating experience in Naxos was a relatively good one. There were places I will definitely go back to and one that I will avoid forever. My favorite restaurant was the Picasso Mexican Bistro and not just because I had been traveling for two months and was weary of Greek food. This was a really terrific Mexican restaurant, as good as any I have been to in the USA, (and I go to a lot-it's my favorite food). Picasso is owned by Debbie Richards and Stratos Perakis and after the first margarita and chips and salsa I was ready to commit myself to eating all my meals here. By the third pitcher I knew that if I did my life would be in danger. We came with our Slovenian friends, Darko and Zonka and their kids who are not as into spicy foods as my family is, but there was something for everyone and we all left happy and they left with an appreciation of Mexican cuisine which they had never tasted before in their lives. If you have a yearning for jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, burrittos, tacos, sizzling fajitas, great nachos that look and taste the way nachos are supposed to, and you need a few frozen margaritas to recover from your day at the beach or exploring the island then go to Picasso. They have moved their restaurant from Naxos town to Plaka beach which is a good enough reason to stay at a hotel there. Mexican food on the beach in Naxos? Count me in! You can e-mail them at or see their menu at

Ouzeri in NaxosPopi's Grill in the port is one of the most famous of the island and except for a couple immigrants clearing the table the restaurant is unique in that it is an all-girl staff. Single guys don't get your hopes up because their average age is about sixty, but it is run in an organized yet chaotic way and specializes in grilled meats. What attracted me was the whole lamb and kontosouvli turning on the spit and I dragged everyone back to it though they wanted to eat elsewhere. Nobody has raved about the food though, in fact the few comments I have gotten from travelers have said it is mediocre. But I am a sucker for psistarias (grill houses) and I will check it out next trip. The Lucullus Taverna is the most famous taverna on the island mostly due to an article in the New York Times from 1998. The tavern is the oldest on Naxos and celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2008. It is located up the Old Market Street on the way to the castle and is decorated with antiques. All the small ouzeries in a row on the waterfront had octopus grilling and a wide variety of mezedes and you will probably be pleased with any of them. If in doubt try Stis Irinis Cafenion-Ouzerie. There is also an Asian restaurant that was recommended to us called East-West which featured Chinese, Indian and Thai food. The Anemos Ouzeri is closed and has been replaced by Ellis which has live rembetika music on weekends. It is in the Grotta neighborhood on the north side of town. Metaxi Mas in Naxos town is a ouzeri-mezedopoulion that is popular with locals and with travelers. Meltemi is a popular taverna in Naxos Town that has been open since the seventies and specializes in local meat, fish and vegetable dishes.

Anastasia of Golden Beach ZacharoplastionFor breakfast in Agios Prokopios we liked the Golden Beach or Xrisi Paralia Zacharoplastion (sugar-shop) mostly because Anastasia (photo) and the other girls who ran it were so sweet and charming and also because they had super-fresh eggs which came from their family farm that were delicious as omelets or fried. It was also our hangout for after dinner because they had a nice selection of local deserts and sweets, all home-made and lots of flavors of ice-cream in case you wanted to top them off. The cafe is right on the beach by all the restaurants and bars. When we moved to the Porto Naxos in town we had their breakfast buffet which was more than ample. So ample that we really did not need to eat lunch. Have their fresh local yogurt with Cretan Honey and the best frappes in town.

H Magi Thea in Mesi Potamos, NaxosLa Vigne is owned by two French women, Elizabeth and Frederique, who have been living in Naxos for 3 years and were inspired to open a French wine bar in Naxos Town just a few steps up from the harbor. They sell French wine directly imported from France as well as cheese, pâté from France, prosciutto, and different mezzes ... and sweets, all home made. They are open every day all year, and have tables outside in front of  the church of Panagia Kristou in Naxos town. The traditional restaurant Platanos in the village of Apeiranthos is next to a small church in the shade of a platanos tree and we had a very nice lunch here during our journey around the island. It is high in the mountains and cooler and they had a menu full of local dishes. Try the kokoras (rooster) either grilled or in a red sauce. On the outskirts of the small town of Mesi Potamia is the very nice taverna H Magi Thea owned by the charming Dimitrios Deoydes (photo), where you can find inexpensive local dishes in a beautiful setting. If you are looking to escape the town for a real honest-to-goodness country meal of fresh local meats and vegetables and good local wine in a cool mountain setting with a beautiful view come here one night. (If you drink be sure to have a designated driver to get you back to your hotel). Good news for lovers of potatoes. Naxos grows potatoes for all of Greece and when they are sliced large and cooked in fresh olive oil you will forget about all the French-fries you have eaten before. And for desert lovers, the best galactoboureko in Halki is at To Spitiko Galactoboureko.

Readers Restaurant Choices

Su e Giu Italian Restaurant, NaxosFrom one of the regulars in my Greece Travel Group on Facebook, Anders Alvheim who visits Naxos several times a year: "To Elliniko near the police station has live music good traditional food... Scirocco on the main square is a very popular "tourist-place" but the food is good and the service great... Marou is another fine place... and not to forget my favourite Italian: Susanna(photo), who used to run Susannas Pizza some years ago, has opened Su e Giu in the port/on the seafront, and if you're into Italian food or "seasonal seafood" it is THE place! And be sure to go to Sergianis near Saint George Beach and tell Fotis I sent you. Outside of Naxos Town I suggest Lefteris Taverna which is in Apeiranthos, and if you get to the village of Filoti try Baboulas Grill House. Visit Manolis and Yorgos at the Paradise Beach Taverna in Saint George and you will probably spend every day there like I do."

According to Michael and Shannon Hadjis from Chicago: "In our opinion (me and my Greek husband's) Spiros Taverna DOES have the best Greek food we have ever had. We tried this place based from your "sadly" missed experience on your website. Next time - go there! We could only compare the food to Aunt Crisoula's homemade food back in Athens. We ate there 4 out of 6 nights. Wished we had just done all six. YUM!"

Greek Traveler David Berchoux from France has this to share about his favorite Naxos restaurants: "Axiotissa in Kastrakihas a fantastic setting and service, a great menu with original creations using top fresh organic products, I've eaten the best swordfish of my entire life there : juicy and tasty, perfect cooking. For sure the best restaurant in Naxos in my opinion. Pighi in Ano Potamia in the mountains usually only only local people, and has great BBQ & meat (roasted goat). Petrino on Plaka Beach has a nice terrace, excellent fish and all the classic Greek dishes."

Nightlife in Naxos

As for bars and clubs there are many choices and Naxos town literally rocks at night. Unfortunately I was traveling with a wife and child so the best I could do was a fun filled night of margaritas at Picasso so in terms of being a good travel writer and checking out the nightlife by drinking in every bar or pub I am adraid I dropped the ball. But with posters and flyers around town and the cards you will find in your hotel you should find something going on within a few steps of wherever you are staying, hopefully not too loud and too close.  For Greek music try The Loft. For sophisticated tastes go to Vengera. For rock, reggae and soul there is the Kahlua Music Club at Agios Prokopios and for the wild younger crowd seeking that throbbing disco beat there is the Ocean Club on the road to Agios Georgios. Sante,and Rocks are three clubs open late. There are plenty more so ask your conceirge, waiter or anyone else you talk to. Because of the crisis clubs and bars come and go so if any of these no longer exist please let me know.

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